As a veteran journalist, with more than 30 years of experience under my belt, I have sat back and watched how the events of what happened in Ferguson, MO have played out in the media. It has, in my opinion, been journalism at its worst. It has shown us how ugly racism truly is and that coverage has been intentional. Now before you say it’s a good thing that the media is showing America’s TRUE colors let me give you a few things to think about.
First, the media is not and never has been an UNBIASED organization. Despite what you may be led to believe there is no such thing as objective reporting. Every news director, producer and reporter in the field has an idea of how the “story” should be told. There’s this “if it bleeds it leads” mentality in the newsroom with lots of hype and sensationalism which the powers that be believe make for good TV AND ratings. If the news has no entertainment value it doesn’t seem to be worth reporting.
Second: The media is much more conservative than liberal as it has been accused of by certain extremist groups. That’s because middle age white men still run most news organizations around the country and they see the world through their white privileged eyes. You don’t know what circles they travel in beyond the newsroom environment and who may really be calling the shots.
If the media were truly “liberal” it would open the door of opportunity for more minorities to sit in decision-making positions without having to be second guessed by others. Minorities in decision-making positions are more likely to flush out the truth and real meat of a Ferguson type story from the sensational hype.
Can white journalists accurately and fairly report Ferguson-type stories? l believe some have good intentions but there’s also an old saying, unless you’ve walked in my shoes you cannot truly understand my experience. The media gives us what they think makes good TV from a skewed perspective.
Definition of conservative: a person who is averse to change. White men in power. Think about it.
Third: It’s all about the ratings and being first to report. Gone are the days when “accuracy” was the absolute most important piece in a news story. Now the attitude is: be first with the breaking news and clean up the factual stuff later as the story develops.
Fourth: Making the victim the suspect and the cause of his demise. While the media is showing us the devastation and destruction from the actions of a white police officer against an unarmed black man, they also proceed to justify why the victim may have deserved what was coming to him. This is their idea of “fair and balanced” news coverage. What they fail or simply refuse to realize is reporting this angle incites rage on both sides. But it makes for good TV.
Finally: The REAL REVOLUTION will never be televised (that’s what Gil Scott Heron said). White men who control the media will always be threatened and intimidated by black men so when they feel the pressure they can turn the tide in their favor and viewers will never know what hit them. Along with that, many white folks, no matter how “liberal” they might want you to believe they are, would never want to give up their privilege.
White parents, even the trailer park trash, will NEVER, EVER have to warn their kids on how to behave when they encounter the police. That’s what Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sean Bell, John Crawford and countless others have taught me WITHOUT the sensational media coverage.